my first car [a little abstract]

I was never a car person, which really beats the odds: between my two grandfathers, they've probably owned over 30 cars. My Uncle G was always rolling something new, it seemed like. And I grew up watching CRIBS.

I also grew up in Seattle, where a car is a great idea - public transit's okay, but the city's in a big line and lots of days I'd go from getting the school paper out to band practice 45 minutes on the bus. I probably would have wished for a car back then, but I'm a realist. We were a one-car family my whole life. Sometimes a no-car family.

College happened, where I hitched rides a lot more often and learned to be grateful for Seattle's public transit. I moved back to Seattle, got a job, a bus pass, and didn't really think about having a car. I didn't figure on having one until I was maybe 25. My little sister got one as she went off to Evergreen as a kind of in-state bonus, and as much as I mock-groaned about it, I wasn't really jealous. I live close to NV Global Headquarters and friends were still willing to pick me up and my pass was worn down by the third week.

A few days after my 22nd birthday, I got a call from my Uncle G. I was in a post office.

"How's the new apartment."
"Good, it's nice. I like my neighbors."
"Is there parking?"
"There's kind of a carport underneath the building and you can pay to park there, but I don't have a car, so..."
"Well, you do now."

...

"Wait, what? Are you kidding?"

He wasn't. I left the line with my package and yelled. G, who lives in Illinois, had secured me the third car pictured. A red 1996 Ford Probe SE. I'm now a car person. I was lucky enough to visit and thank him [and met a Viner en route] back in January, and now - finally - I'm all insured and tuned up. It's incredible.

The car isn't perfect. It's a hatchback and it's kinda hard to see out the back window after it's rained. There's a dent in the left front panel. Only the tiniest of my friends will be comfy in the backseat. And I love it. I'm going to love fixing it and washing it and maybe getting it painted once I get that dent out.

I didn't mind waiting in the DOL, or wrenching my wrist taking off the Illinois plates with some pliers, or driving the years-old gas out of it as it sputtered, because it's my car.

I pore through the manual, and look up Probe forums, and I don't care how long it takes, I'll find a great mechanic.

I've been feeling independent for a long time. I went to the East Coast for the second time ever to go to school when I was 17; I moved out of my childhood home as soon as I got this gig. Car independence is different, though; the power to go to Portland for a weekend if I want. The ability to pick friends up from the airport without feeling like you owe another friend a cake.

Part of me feels sheepish about being so into something I own, but what can I say? I get it now. I don't think I've ever been this attached to a possession that wasn't an instrument.

Also, the car has under 25K on it. Not for long, but it means this'll be mine for a long time.

Thanks, G.

[Also I put a system in it. The speakers bump pretty well and I'm going to hook up a bass tube if I can swing it.]